Fog Devils convinced Allen is a keeper

Brendan McCarthy
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QMJHL

The St. John's Fog Devils liked goaltender Jake Allen, so much so that they when they selected him 40th overall Saturday at the Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leagues Entry Draft in Drummondville, Que., they were taking him earlier than both the QMJHL's Central Scouting Bureau (55th) and the independent International Scouting Service (61st) had him ranked.

But even then, the Fog Devils are convinced it was steal to get the 16-year-old from Fredericton, N.B., with a pick at that spot.

The St. John's Fog Devils liked goaltender Jake Allen, so much so that they when they selected him 40th overall Saturday at the Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leagues Entry Draft in Drummondville, Que., they were taking him earlier than both the QMJHL's Central Scouting Bureau (55th) and the independent International Scouting Service (61st) had him ranked.

But even then, the Fog Devils are convinced it was steal to get the 16-year-old from Fredericton, N.B., with a pick at that spot.

"We were thinking we might have get him earlier - in the second round," said Fog Devils' head scout Bob Johnson, "but the way the draft was going, with not many goalies getting picked, we gambled, thinking he would be there in the third round.

"And he was. Whether we were smart or lucky, the main thing was that we able to get him."

Allen was the third goalie taken in the draft and first from the Atlantic provinces. Quebec midgets Maxime Clermont (13th overall to Gatineau) and Claude Girard (21st overall to Shawinigan) were the only ones taken earlier. Allen's name also went up on the draft board four picks ahead of Olivier Bellevance-Roy, who was seen as a possible first-round pick. Bellevance-Roy went to Cape Breton later in the third round.

"We obviously had Allen rated higher (than Bellevance-Roy) going in," said Fog Devils head coach/GM Real Paiement. "We thought we got good value for the pick."

The six-foot-two , 180-pound Allen was the No. 1 goalie for the Fredericton Canadiens, three-time defending champs of the N.B. midget league, and was the backstop for New Brunswick's fifth-place entry at the 2007 Canada Winter Games.

He was his provincial major midget league's top netminder statistically last season, with a 2.11 goals-against average and two shutouts in 22 regular-season games.

Allen followed that up with a 1.93 GAA and three shutouts in 14 playoff games.

The Devils haven't had success in finding goalies during the annual selection process. Of the three they drafted through their first two season, only Corner Brook's Bradley Dyke (eighth round, 2005) has suited up for St. John's during the regular-season, and that was for but one game in 2006-07.

But the Devils think they that history may change with the six-foot-two, 175-pound Allen.

"He's got good size and he's patient," said Paiement, who has never drafted a goalie higher in his two-plus seasons running the Fog Devils.

"He's got good size and he's patient, plus after two years with a high-level organization, he's become a very sound technical goalie - he's been coached very well."

"The other thing is that he does a good job moving the puck. They've tried to take that away from goalies, by putting the lines in back of the net (delineating the areas where goalies can't handle the puck). But he's also able to play the puck in front of the net, so he'll take advantage of that."

Allen, who says his butterfly style is patterned after that of Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller - wasn't surprised the Fog Devils called out his name.

"I was told they were going to pick a goalie early, so I thought it might come down to them and Moncton," said Allen, whose friend and former midget Habs' teammate Taylor MacDougall is on the St. John's roster.

"Taylor told me a lot of great things about how it is over there. I'm looking forward to training camp.

"I have the confidence that I can play there next year, maybe starting off as a backup and push the No.1 goalie to be the best he can be."

bmcc@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Central Scouting Bureau, International Scouting Service, GM Real Paiement Buffalo Sabres

Geographic location: St. John's, Quebec, Drummondville Fredericton Shawinigan Cape Breton New Brunswick Canada Corner Brook Moncton

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